No Reason to celebrate 60th Merdeka Day


August 18, 2017

No Reason to celebrate 60th Merdeka Day

by Stephen Ng@www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for UMNO Flags

COMMENT | As we approach Merdeka Day, one thing is too obvious not to be noticed.

This observation that I make will answer the question I pose: “How can BN gain back people’s confidence after 2008?”

Sixty years have passed and BN has ruled the nation. This year is crucial as it may be the coming general election that will decide whether Malaysia will return to BN or see a change of government at the federal level.

Image result for Jalur Gemilang at half mast

On August 31, 2017–In stead of rejoicing, we Malaysians  mourn the state of our country. After 60 years of Merdeka, we are being colonised by corrupt and racist UMNO kleptocrats and their partners in MCA, MIC, Gerakan.–Din Merican

My observation is based on the mood of the people as we approach Merdeka Day. It is obvious that the flags are not flying. By now, most shops would be carrying the Malaysian flag and cars would be adorned with the Jalur Gemilang.

But, unless some arm-twisting tactics are used, by now the flags would be all over the place. Patriotism is not something that can be forced. It has to come from the people’s own sentiments.

Although patriotism has nothing to do with giving support to the government of the day, its absence can indicate the people’s sentiments and confidence towards those in the powers of corridor.

This year is the 60th anniversary since Malaysia achieved its independence from the British colonial government in 1957, yet Malaysians are generally lukewarm about the celebration this year.

Why are Malaysians not showing their patriotism?

It does not cost more than RM10 to purchase a Malaysian flag, but could it be that Malaysians are unwilling to fork out even that amount of money, not forgetting the additional 60 sen for the Goods and Services Tax (GST)?

After three years, by now, most Malaysians would have felt the burden of the GST on their rising cost of living.

Only a total reversal of the GST, which unfortunately Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said is impossible to implement, is the only way BN can gain the people’s confidence.

Pakatan Harapan said the moment they win the general election, they would remove the GST. So, why is BN saying it cannot be abolished?

Is it because the country has reached such a financial state that despite the oil money, the government would not be able to meet financial obligations without the income from GST collection?

All the “positive” reports aside, one needs to only read Tricia Yeoh’s open letter to Najib to realise how much of Najib’s speech at Invest Malaysia last month can be swallowed.

The truth is most people have a very negative economic outlook, with most saying that the country appears to be going nowhere. Malaysians are beginning to see the doom ahead of them with the latest report that in 2016, the country’s debt has hit RM908.7 billion or 74 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

This is one of the highest since the country achieved independence. To say it is no problem is something hard for even ordinary Malaysians to believe. Imagine you are earning RM10,000, but you have to service your loan for the RM7,000 that you have borrowed.

You may be living a lifestyle of someone earning RM17,000 a month, but how many people even earn RM5,000 a month? This is called “over gearing”.

If people smell that something is not right, they will panic to think that the country’s total foreign debts may show that we are in real danger of bankruptcy.

One explanation after another has been given. For example, everyone knows that it is the weaker ringgit that is contributing to the higher cost of foreign debts, but what is the BN government doing about controlling external debts?

What we are hearing about are the mega projects being carried out using borrowed funds. The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) for example is to be built using money from a soft loan provided by China’s Exim Bank at 3 percent over a period of 20 years.

Anyone borrowing from the bank for a housing loan for that period of time will realise that it is not that rosy after all. The moment someone defaults on a loan, there will be penalties. The bank may even force the property to be auctioned off.

Would the RM55 billion soft loan place Malaysia under the control of a Chinese bank, hence, indirectly the Chinese government? No banks would loan any amount of money if it does not have the assurance that it is able to get back the money.

Besides, we all know that Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) is not making any profit despite running the North-South corridor. What makes us think that the ECRL would be able to pay back the loan?

Political violence

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UMNO-Malay Unity, not National Unity

It is not only the financial aspect that people are worried about. No thanks to its past record, and people like Jamal Mohd Yunos and his Red Shirts, people seem to have the impression that UMNO is given the right to use violence.

Peace-loving Malaysians are no longer easily intimidated. The silent majority may not do much, but the sentiments are definitely not with UMNO when more political violence unfolds, whether linked to the party, its members, or otherwise.

They may not be outspoken, but they are waiting for the right moment to strike with another tsunami. This is my observation especially after Mahathir and his men abandoned UMNO.

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Jamal Ikan Bakar Yunos and his Red Shirts on a rampage?

The answer to my question, “How BN can gain back people’s confidence?” therefore requires more soul-searching on the part of BN leaders, including those from Sabah and Sarawak.

If flying of the Jalur Gemilang is any indication of the people’s sentiments, it is time for some serious discussions at the higher level.

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.

‘Nothing to Hide’ Violence 2.0 – the Harbinger of Anarchy in Malusia


August 17, 2017

‘Nothing to Hide’ Violence 2.0 – the Harbinger of Anarchy in Malusia

by S Thayaparan

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for See, people with power understand exactly one thing: violence.”  - Noam Chomsky

COMMENT | Would it surprise anyone that when the dust of this recent scuffle at the Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum settles, the perpetrators – always young Malay youths – would be portrayed as the aggrieved party, much like the thieves of the Low Yat fiasco? UMNO has always been protective of its voting base with Malay opposition voices harassed and intimidated when it comes to courting this specific demographic.

While I have been skeptical of the efficacy of this particular tactic of the opposition when it comes to using the 1MDB issue as a vote getter, the response from the regime and the attempts to derail any form of dialogue points to how much this regime fears the architect of modern Malaysia – Dr Mahathir Mohamad -and his designs on the throne of Putrajaya.

While the current UMNO grand poohbah holds solidarity prayers with Muslims begging God for peace and stability, the Najib refuseniks busy themselves with the task of destabilising UMNO hegemony. There is no point talking about a Malaysian tsunami because the violence in this event, the harassment that Malay opposition figures face, the use of the state apparatus to investigate Najib refuseniks’ sympathisers points to the reality that the next general elections will be the ultimate Malay scuffle.

While some would argue that the questions asked by these so-called provocateurs were meant to derail the forum, the reality is that those questions form the basis of right-wing Malay politics and are the means to which UMNO has maintained hegemony.

Those question about the Memali incident, Bersatu’s simpatico with the DAP and the supposed sins of jailed political prisoner Anwar Ibrahim – rights, race and religion – were meant to demonstrate that the former UMNO Prime Minister had abandoned the Malay community and conspires with the ‘Chinese DAP’ to supplant the rightful place of Malays and Islam in this country.

So, while urban opposition propaganda promulgates the narrative that we are all in this together, the reality is that this “scuffle” between the Malays in the existential threat facing UMNO today. This fight will eventually determine not who controls the destiny of the Malay polity – mainstream Malay politics is based on “Ketuanism” – but rather who controls the gravy train.

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The Target of N2H 2.0 Violence–Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

Nothing will come of any investigation into this matter as nothing has ever come of any investigation where the UMNO ‘titushkas’ have used political violence to disrupt the numerous oppositional and other activists’ forums meant to highlight or discuss the malfeasances of the state.

Ironically, a friend of mine from PAS told me just recently that he remembers the time when the UMNO ‘titushkas’ disrupted ceramahs and various other political gatherings to demonstrate that the opposition could not maintain stability in their own house, then how could they with the country.

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N2H Violence –The Harbinger of Things to Come

In case anyone assumes that it is prejudicial to jump to conclusion as to UMNO’s role and my description of the UMNO provocateurs, read the comments of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi with regard to the intersection between organised thuggery and UMNO;

“He said, ‘The 6,171 Malays, they are not real thugs (samseng), they were Pekida members and were part of the Tiga Line group, Gang 30, Gang 7 – these are festivities (kendurikendara) gangsters.” Furthermore, he added, ‘I tell our Tiga Line friends, do what should be done.’”

And what exactly should these groups be doing? I would argue that if three years ago you made the claim that Tiga Line was disrupting Bersih activities, you would get UMNO members saying that these thugs are only doing what needs to be done.”

Instilling fear

In other words, it should surprise no one that what needed to be done was to disrupt Nothing to Hide 2.0 to instil a sense of fear in any Malay participant that there would be violence in Bersatu’s political gathering. This is why the state security apparatus is shifting the blame to the organisers of the forum instead of the disruptors of the event.

Always keep in mind UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s rejoinder – “(Bagaimanapun) jangan memandang rendah kepada kerajaan kerana mereka ada kuasa, ada televisyen, radio, duit dan media. Mereka juga ada alat-alat risikan dan sebagainya. Media dia lebih tahu pada kita. Dia tahu kita belum tahu lagi. Sama ada dengan kekuasaan itu, parti yang berkuasa akan kalah saya tidak tahu.”

What makes this a little more dangerous is the fact that UMNO is not only turning on the Malay community, it is also turning on its own. It should surprise nobody that the former Prime Minister has many sympathisers within UMNO who do not make up the elite of UMNO but who are the “ordinary people” of the party and the beneficiaries of his patronage of his long UMNO watch.

These true believers are pining for the days when the corruption was managed and UMNO kept the Islamists – PAS – at bay while the Islamists within worked their dark sorcery on the Malay community. These are the sleepers that the current UMNO elite fear. What damage have they done in terms of leaks (propaganda) or could they do during the election (sabotage)?

One of the complaints I get from Malay opposition operatives is that I always seem to highlight the political violence against non-Malay opposition parties and personalities and imply – I disagree with this description – that Malays have an easy ride when it comes to spreading their message to the Malay demographic.

Malay academics and social activists always remind me that when it comes to violence carried out by the state, the Malay demographic feels the boot the most. However, what should be of concern is that this time because of the political actors involved, the level of support of the Najib refuseniks and the hidden hands of the Malay opposition political elite, the violence could escalate.

It would be easy to dismiss Nothing to Hide 2.0 violence as just another episode where the state disrupts a gathering – or as some have argued, a black bag operation from the master manipulator – because this is, in reality, the shape of things to come.

When you have a sitting Prime Minister who refuses to acknowledge if he would abide by the results of the democratic process, when there are laws in place which override the traditional mechanism for declaring emergency and a security apparatus which is not independent (and has more or less made such a claim), what you have is a Molotov cocktail of racial and religious disorder.

The most important question is who is going to throw that cocktail, and if you think that UMNO is the only one capable of doing that, you have not been paying attention.

 

French Justice Catching up With Malaysians in Sub Scandal?


August 4, 2017

French Justice Catching up With Malaysians in Sub Scandal?

by John Berthelsen

http://www.asiasentinel.com

Image result for altantuya shaariibuu

Altantuya Shaariibuu– A  Mongolian model who was blown to bits. I met her dad Dr. Stev in Bangsar with Raja Petra Kamaruddin a few years ago. Pete was charged under ISA by the UMNO regime for his article “Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to Hell” (April 25, 2009). –Din Merican

Although Abdul Razak Baginda, the central figure in what was previously Malaysia’s most notorious scandal, has been charged with “active and passive complicity in corruption” by French prosecutors, according to Agence France Press on Aug. 1, it is unlikely that they are going to catch up with him anytime soon.

Razak remains in Malaysia, a close friend of Prime Minister Najib Razak, with extradiction doubtful since the premier himself also figures in a case involving a €114 million bribe to the United Malays National Organization for the purchase of French submarines. It is a case that involves political corruption, murder, sex and allegations that reach high up into both the Malaysian and French governments.  Neither Najib nor Razak Baginda is likely to go touring in France anytime soon.

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Dr. Razak Baginda–A close associate of Prime Minister Najib Razak

In addition to Razak Baginda, four former Thales International Asia officials have been indicted, including one in December 2015 by a French court for allegedly bribing Najib himself, according to a January 2016 AFP story quoting French judicial sources. The matter seemed to have been stalled after that report although the case has been under investigation for seven years.

Case in 1MDB’s shadow

The affair has since paled in Malaysia in the shadow of the massive 1Malaysia Development Bhd. scandal, in which US$5.4 billion disappeared from a state-backed investment fund through looting and mismanagement that has spurred investigations in half a dozen countries across the world. US prosecutors have alleged that anywhere from US$681 million to US$1 billion disappeared out of 1MDB into Najib’s pockets, part of it to be used to buy a vast store of real estate, paintings and other assets in the United States, which alerted the US Justice Department’s kleptocracy unit to name him a “Public Official 1” and to seize millions of dollars’ worth of assets.

The two cases have given Malaysia an international black eye but have done nothing yet to bring Najib down as prime minister. He remains insulated from defenestration through the payment of fulsome contributions to the top UMNO cadres who might be tempted to oust him. Although the opposition has unified in recent months under the unlikely leadership of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the betting is that, insulated by gerrymandering, religious xenophobia, political repression and a kept press, he won’t be ousted in the next election, which must be called before mid-2018.

“Apparently after (the opposition Pakatan Harapan) sorted out leadership issues in their coalition, they have been gaining a lot of traction,” said a well-wired political observer in Kuala Lumpur. “The tragedy for Malaysia is that their comeback kid is 92 years old and his “successor” (imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim) is in jail.”

Prize-winning series

As Asia Sentinel reported in a prize-winning series in 2012, a two-decade campaign by DCN and its subsidiaries to sell submarines to Malaysia and other countries resulted in a tangle of blackmail, influence peddling and misuse of corporate assets that took place with the knowledge of top French officials including then-foreign Minister Alain Juppe and with the consent of Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister. The case has had far wider implications, stretching from South America to Pakistan to India to Taiwan and other countries and featuring a series of unexplained deaths as DCN sought to peddle its weapons.

At the center of the Malaysia case were Razak Baginda and Najib, then on a vast weapons acquisition spree as Minister of Defense, buying fighter jets, patrol boats and armored weapons.  The ministry spent US$2 billion for Scorpene submarines manufactured by Thales.  A store of documents from French prosecutors made available to Asia Sentinel presented a damning indictment that showed Najib’s goal was to steer the kickbacks to UMNO through a private company called Perimekar Sdn Bhd. whose principal shareholder was Razak Baginda’s wife Masjaliza.

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 Dr. Baginda with his daughter and wife

 

Another €36 million was directed to Terasasi Hong Kong Ltd., whose principal officers were listed as Razak Baginda and his father. The company only existed as a name on a wall in a Hong Kong accounting office. At the time Razak Baginda was then the highly respected head of a Malaysian think tank called Malaysian Strategic Research, which was connected with UMNO.

DCN paid for lovers’ Macau tryst

Among the documents was one that showed a DCN confederate sent Razak Baginda on a jaunt to Macau with his then-girlfriend, Altantuya Shaariibuu, a 28-year-old Mongolian national and international party girl who was later murdered by two of Najib’s bodyguards. Altantuya was said to have also been a lover of Najib before he passed her to his best chum although Najib said he would deny knowing her by swearing on the Quran.

During negotiations at the end of the submarine contract, Altantuya was employed as a translator, according to the documents, although it is questionable how effective her language skills really were. In any case, after a whirlwind tour of Europe in his Ferrari, Razak Baginda apparently tired of Altantuya and jilted her, impelling her to fly to Kuala Lumpur to demand US$500,000 in what she described as blackmail in a letter found in her hotel room after her murder.

Altantuya was grabbed on Oct. 19, 2006 from in front of Razak Baginda’s home by Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar, members of an elite police unit responsible as bodyguards for Najib, and was dragged into a car and driven to a forested spot outside the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Shah Alam, where she was knocked unconscious and shot twice in the head.  The two then wrapped her body in C4 plastic explosive and blew her up, supposedly to destroy the fetus she was carrying.

Detailed confession not allowed in court

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What a ghastly murder of a Mongolian Model

Sirul gave a detailed confession to a fellow police officer in which he described in chilling fashion how the two had killed the woman, who begged for the life of her unborn child. Although Sirul had been read his rights, inexplicably the confession was never introduced in the lengthy trial that followed. At the conclusion of the trial, as he was being sentenced, Sirul broke into tears, telling the judge that he was the “black sheep who has been sacrificed to protect unnamed people.”

Although Razak Baginda was quoted in his own statement to police following the discovery of the murder as saying he had asked one of Najib’s aides to “do something” about the woman, who was harassing him, he was excused without the need to present evidence, The aide was never called to testify, nor were a long string of other Malaysian officials with connections to the case.

Ultimately, Azilah and Sirul were sentenced to death. However, the two have never been executed, Sirul, released temporarily on appeal, made tracks for Australia, where he was later detained. He remains there today after having implicated Najib in the murder and then retracted the allegation. Mahathir has repeatedly called vainly for the case to be reopened.  Nonetheless, it remains one of Malaysia’s biggest scandals, and is likely to remain so unless a new election sweeps out UMNO and its lieutenants.

A Malay is an UMNO Construct


August 3, 2017

A Malay is an UMNO Construct .Go figure

by S. Thayaparan

http://www.malaysiakini.com

 

Image result for zahid hamidi is a javanese

Zahid Hamidi is a Melayu SeJati defined by UMNO.

Image result for Najib the Bugis Warrior Even  a Bugis is a True Malay  since he is UMNO President

 

“I want to be a normal member. Because I cannot do anything (for the Malays).”

– former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad

COMMENT | Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has chosen to insult the Indian community with his “attack” on Pakatan Harapan chairperson and former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Indian pedigree and subsequent actions as not being a Malay “trait”.

To be honest, I had been expecting something like this for a couple of months now – “The only thing that is different this time is because the Malay community is fractured, and UMNO has had to play the race and religion card against its own. Playing the race and religion card against your own community is a recipe for disaster, especially when the country does not have an alternative to the Islam proscribed by UMNO.”

Since the struggle for the Malay soul – read: vote – is now between UMNO and Bersatu, this whole idea of demonstrating “Malay-ness” becomes the battleground, instead of real policies which would take the Malay community in a new direction.

I never understood what a “Malay” sejati was anyway. As far as I can tell, to UMNO, any Malay who is not in the UMNO fold in not a true Malay.

I remember when then Prime Minister Mahathir chided his Malay/UMNO base (during numerous annual general meetings) on their “mudah lupa”-ness , their laziness , their ineptitude, their incompetence and their general “tidak apa” attitude , in other words, “traits” which he found detestable, the sycophants that surrounded him went to the press and claimed that the good doctor was giving them strong medicine because he really loved UMNO and wanted the best for UMNO and its members.

Once out of UMNO, he becomes an Indian

Do you think I am seditious when I talk about these Malay traits? Mahathir has more or less said the same. The former premier said Malays had failed because they were lazy and sought the easy way out by reselling their shares, licences and contracts to non-Malays.

“They cannot be patient, cannot wait a little, they want to be rich this very moment… no work is done other than to be close to people with influence and authority in order to get something,” he said. “After selling and getting the cash, they come back to ask for more.”

Perhaps Zahid should take the former Prime Minister’s advice and learn from the Chinese: “If we take out the Chinese and all that they have built and own, there will be no small or big towns in Malaysia, there will be no business and industry, there will be no funds for the subsidies, support and facilities for the Malays. Learn from the Chinese.”

Again, if you think I am racist or seditious for defining the narrative in such a way, please keep in mind that the reason why we have buffoons like these UMNO ministers blathering on about authentic Malays is because the current opposition de facto leader, Mahathir Mohamad admitted that he “failed” to change the “Malay” mindset:

“What else (can I do) … I have tried to be an example, tried to teach, scolded, cried and even prayed. (But) I have failed. I have failed to achieve the most important thing – how to change the Malays.”

Now, of course, the UMNO narrative is that because he was not an authentic Malay, what he really did was use UMNO for his personal interests. This is kind of a joke because UMNO has always had special privileges for its members, all the rest are discounted citizens.

Mind you these are the same traits that some folks believe would seep into their respective cultures, so Zahid is not the only person who is worried about the authenticity of his race and religion. Go figure.

However since this is the Deputy Prime Minister we are talking about here, he never stops to consider that maybe just maybe, there is a Malay proverb that addresses this specific trait because such traits exist in the Malay community as they do in all communities.

As this kind of basic logic is way over the head of a political operative like Zahid, what we are left with is the kind of Malay (ketuanan) trait that makes some Muslims worry for the mental health of their community.

This is the same kind of Malay “trait” that makes a group like Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) lodge a report against Marian Mahathir for “liking” a twitter post support of the LGBT community. Of course if some prominent person liked a Twitter post in support of some banned Islamic extremist group, these same people would have no trouble supporting a “like” and demonizing detractors as Islamophobic.

While some folks may argue that these are the “traits” of the Malay community and they would also argue that we should be mindful lest the other – pendatang – communities are tainted by such traits, ultimately what we are dealing with is the racist nature of mainstream politics here in Malaysia.

I am kind of fuzzy on the logic behind this attack. Is Mahathir not an authentic Malay because of his Indian heritage, or because he left UMNO and is now working with the opposition?

If not leaving UMNO is a Malay trait, then what does it say about all those other Malays who have left UMNO? What does it say about those Malay who are not “tainted” by pendatang ancestry but who no longer are part of the UMNO establishment or who have been in UMNO?

And if working with the opposition is not a Malay trait then what does it say about the numerous UMNO /Malay political operatives who are working with PAS, a supposedly opposition party and at one time the arch-enemy of UMNO?

“This is our culture. We do not know what is hardship, we only want things to be easy,” is how Mahathir defined Malay culture. Is he wrong? Of course Zahid will say that all these utterances of Mahathir just prove that he is not an authentic Malay ignoring the fact when he was saying them in the various UMNO general assemblies, the sycophants were prostrating themselves before him and acknowledging their sins.

Ibrahim Yahya, the Deputy Prime Minister’s aide, claimed that the politics of hate that is sowed by the opposition is destroying the country, but the reality is that that the politics of hate defines this country. This is just another example of what I have always said.

The Truth About Lying


July 28, 2017

The Truth About Lying

Deception is rampant—and sometimes we tell the biggest lies to those we love most.
 

By Allison Kornet, last reviewed on June 9, 2016

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199705/the-truth-about-lying

Image result for Political Liars

If, as the cliché has it, the 1980s was the decade of greed, then the quintessential sin of the 1990s might just have been lying. After all, think of the accusations of deceit leveled at politicians like Bob Packwood, Marion Barry, Dan Rostenkowski, Newt Gingrich, and Bill Clinton.

 

And consider the top-level Texaco executives who initially denied making racist comments at board meetings; the young monk who falsely accused Cardinal Bernardin of molestation; Susan Smith, the white woman who killed her young boys and blamed a black man for it; and Joe Klein, the Newsweek columnist who adamantly swore for months that he had nothing to do with his anonymously-published novel Primary Colors. Even Hollywood noticed our apparent deception obsession: witness films like Quiz Show, True Lies, The Crucible, Secrets & Lies, and Liar, Liar.

Image result for Newt Gingrich the liar

 

Leonard Saxe, Ph.D., a polygraph expert and professor of psychology at Brandeis University, says, “Lying has long been a part of everyday life. We couldn’t get through the day without being deceptive.” Yet until recently lying was almost entirely ignored by psychologists, leaving serious discussion of the topic in the hands of ethicists and theologians. Freud wrote next to nothing about deception; even the 1500-page Encyclopedia of Psychology, published in 1984, mentions lies only in a brief entry on detecting them. But as psychologists delve deeper into the details of deception, they’re finding that lying is a surprisingly common and complex phenomenon.

For starters, the work by Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Virginia, confirms Nietzche’s assertion that the lie is a condition of life. In a 1996 study, DePaulo and her colleagues had 147 people between the ages of 18 and 71 keep a diary of all the falsehoods they told over the course of a week. Most people, she found, lie once or twice a day—almost as often as they snack from the refrigerator or brush their teeth. Both men and women lie in approximately a fifth of their social exchanges lasting 10 or more minutes; over the course of a week they deceive about 30 percent of those with whom they interact one-on-one. Furthermore, some types of relationships, such as those between parents and teens, are virtual magnets for deception: “College students lie to their mothers in one out of two conversations,” reports DePaulo. (Incidentally, when researchers refer to lying, they don’t include the mindless pleasantries or polite equivocations we offer each other in passing, such as “I’m fine, thanks” or “No trouble at all.” An “official” lie actually misleads, deliberately conveying a false impression. So complimenting a friend’s awful haircut or telling a creditor that the check is in the mail both qualify.)

Saxe points out that most of us receive conflicting messages about lying. Although we’re socialized from the time we can speak to believe that it’s always better to tell the truth, in reality society often encourages and even rewards deception. Show up late for an early morning meeting at work and it’s best not to admit that you overslept. “You’re punished far more than you would be if you lie and say you were stuck in traffic,” Saxe notes. Moreover, lying is integral to many occupations. Think how often we see lawyers constructing far-fetched theories on behalf of their clients or reporters misrepresenting themselves in order to gain access to good stories.

Of Course I Love You

Dishonesty also pervades our romantic relationships, as you might expect from the titles of books like 101 Lies Men Tell Women (Harper Collins), by Missouri psychologist Dory Hollander, Ph.D. (Hollander’s nomination for the #1 spot: “I’ll call you.”) Eighty-five percent of the couples interviewed in a 1990 study of college students reported that one or both partners had lied about past relationships or recent indiscretions. And DePaulo finds that dating couples lie to each other in about a third of their interactions—perhaps even more often than they deceive other people.

Fortunately, marriage seems to offer some protection against deception: Spouses lie to each other in “only” about 10 percent of their major conversations. The bad news? That 10 percent just refers to the typically minor lies of everyday life. DePaulo recently began looking at the less frequent “big” lies that involve deep betrayals of trust, and she’s finding that the vast majority of them occur between people in intimate relationships. “You save your really big lies,” she says, “for the person that you’re closest to.”

Sweet Little Lies

Though some lies produce interpersonal friction, others may actually serve as a kind of harmless social lubricant. “They make it easier for people to get along,” says DePaulo, noting that in the diary study one in every four of the participants’ lies were told solely for the benefit of another person. In fact, “fake positive” lies—those in which people pretend to like someone or something more than they actually do (“Your muffins are the best ever”)—are about 10 to 20 times more common than “false negative” lies in which people pretend to like someone or something less (“That two-faced rat will never get my vote”).

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This is why Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump?

Certain cultures may place special importance on these “kind” lies. A survey of residents at 31 senior citizen centers in Los Angeles recently revealed that only about half of elderly Korean Americans believe that patients diagnosed with life-threatening metastatic cancer should be told the truth about their condition. In contrast, nearly 90 percent of Americans of European or African descent felt that the terminally ill should be confronted with the truth.

Not surprisingly, research also confirms that the closer we are to someone, the more likely it is that the lies we tell them will be altruistic ones. This is particularly true of women: Although the sexes lie with equal frequency, women are especially likely to stretch the truth in order to protect someone else’s feelings, DePaulo reports. Men, on the other hand, are more prone to lying about themselves—the typical conversation between two guys contains about eight times as many self-oriented lies as it does falsehoods about other people.

Men and women may also differ in their ability to deceive their friends. In a University of Virginia study, psychologists asked pairs of same-sex friends to try to detect lies told by the other person. Six months later the researchers repeated the experiment with the same participants. While women had become slightly better at detecting their friend’s lies over time, men didn’t show any improvement—evidence, perhaps, that women are particularly good at learning to read their friends more accurately as a relationship deepens.

Who Lies?

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UMNO Liars–These guys not only lie but they are also utterly corrupt

Saxe believes that anyone under enough pressure, or given enough incentive, will lie. But in a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, DePaulo and Deborah A. Kashy, Ph.D., of Texas A&M University, report that frequent liars tend to be manipulative and Machiavellian, not to mention overly concerned with the impression they make on others. Still, DePaulo warns that liars “don’t always fit the stereotype of caring only about themselves. Further research reveals that extroverted, sociable people are slightly more likely to lie, and that some personality and physical traits—notably self-confidence and physical attractiveness—have been linked to an individual’s skill at lying when under pressure.

On the other hand, the people least likely to lie are those who score high on psychological scales of responsibility and those with meaningful same-sex friendships. In his book Lies! Lies!! Lies!!! The Psychology of Deceit (American Psychiatric Press, Inc.), psychiatrist Charles Ford, M.D., adds depressed people to that list. He suggests that individuals in the throes of depression seldom deceive others—or are deceived themselves—because they seem to perceive and describe reality with greater accuracy than others. Several studies show that depressed people delude themselves far less than their non depressed peers about the amount of control they have over situations, and also about the effect they have on other people. Researchers such as UCLA psychologist Shelley Taylor, Ph.D., have even cited such findings as evidence that a certain amount of self-delusion—basically, lying to yourself—is essential to good mental health. (Many playwrights, including Arthur Miller and Eugene O’Neill, seem to share the same view about truth-telling. In Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh, for example, lies are life sustaining: The heroes become tragic figures when their lies are stripped away.)

Detecting Lies

Anyone who has played cards with a poker-faced opponent can appreciate how difficult it is to detect a liar. Surprisingly, technology doesn’t help very much. Few experts display much confidence in the deception-detecting abilities of the polygraph, or lie detector. Geoffrey C. Bunn, Ph.D., a psychologist and polygraph historian at Canada’s York University, goes so far as to describe the lie detector as “an entertainment device” rather than a scientific instrument. Created around 1921 during one of the first collaborations between scientists and police, the device was quickly popularized by enthusiastic newspaper headlines and by the element of drama it bestowed in movies and novels.

But mass appeal doesn’t confer legitimacy. The problem with the polygraph, say experts like Bunn, is that it detects fear, not lying; the physiological responses that it measures—most often heart rate, skin conductivity, and rate of respiration—don’t necessarily accompany dishonesty.

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“The premise of a lie detector is that a smoke alarm goes off in the brain when we lie because we’re doing something wrong,” explains Saxe. “But sometimes we’re completely comfortable with our lies.” Thus a criminal‘s lie can easily go undetected if he has no fear of telling it. Similarly, a true statement by an innocent individual could be misinterpreted if the person is sufficiently afraid of the examination circumstances. According to Saxe, the best-controlled research suggests that lie detectors err at a rate anywhere from 25 to 75 percent. Perhaps this is why most state and federal courts won’t allow polygraph “evidence.”

Some studies suggest that lies can be detected by means other than a polygraph—by tracking speech hesitations or changes in vocal pitch, for example, or by identifying various nervous adaptive habits like scratching, blinking, or fidgeting. But most psychologists agree that lie detection is destined to be imperfect. Still, researchers continue to investigate new ways of picking up lies. While studying how language patterns are associated with improvements in physical health, James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University, also began to explore whether a person’s choice of words was a sign of deception. Examining data gathered from a text analysis program, Pennebaker and SMU colleague Diane Berry, Ph.D., determined that there are certain language patterns that predict when someone is being less than honest. For example, liars tend to use fewer first person words like I or my in both speech and writing. They are also less apt to use emotional words, such as hurt or angry, cognitive words, like understand or realize, and so-called exclusive words, such as but or without, that distinguish between what is and isn’t in a category.

Not Guilty

While the picture of lying that has emerged in recent years is far more favorable than that suggested by its biblical “thou shalt not” status, most liars remain at least somewhat conflicted about their behavior. In DePaulo’s studies, participants described conversations in which they lied as less intimate and pleasant than truthful encounters, suggesting that people are not entirely at ease with their deceptions. That may explain why falsehoods are more likely to be told over the telephone, which provides more anonymity than a face-to-face conversation. In most cases, however, any mental distress that results from telling an everyday lie quickly dissipates. Those who took part in the diary study said they would tell about 75 percent of their lies again if given a second chance—a position no doubt bolstered by their generally high success rate. Only about a fifth of their falsehoods were discovered during the one-week study period.

Certainly anyone who insists on condemning all lies should ponder what would happen if we could reliably tell when our family, friends, colleagues, and government leaders were deceiving us. It’s tempting to think that the world would become a better place when purged of the deceptions that seem to interfere with our attempts at genuine communication or intimacy. On the other hand, perhaps our social lives would collapse under the weight of relentless honesty, with unveiled truths destroying our ability to connect with others. The ubiquity of lying is clearly a problem, but would we want to will away all of our lies? Let’s be honest.

 

Malaysia’s ‘Men of Always’


June 13, 2017

Malaysia’s ‘Men of Always’

by S. Thayaparan@www.malaysiakini.com

 

“When I say devils, you know who I mean.
These animals in the dark.
Malicious politicians with nefarious schemes.
Charlatans and crooked cops.” – William Elliot Whitmore (Old Devils)

 

COMMENT | In the gripping if romanticised Netflix drama “Nacros”, Pablo Escobar, in a moment of inspired self-serving rhetoric, claims, “the men of always aren’t interested in the children of never”.

The men of always were the established political class of Colombia, but more importantly, they represented the idea of political permanence sustained by populism, corruption and systemic dysfunction. The children of never should be self-evident.

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The Men of Always–God help Malaysia

Wan Saiful Wan Jan, the IDEAS man, recently claimed that Pakatan Harapan needs to move on from the “old batch” and that “fresh blood” is needed. This comes at a time when most opposition supporters have made peace with the man they claimed destroyed Malaysia and laid the tracks of the Najib Kleptrocratic Express.

This writer, agreeing with Zaid Ibrhaim, wrote – “This is the game the opposition has chosen to play and if they want to win, they have to play for keeps. And that is the only way the former Prime Minister knows how to play.” I am, I suppose part of the problem.

The problem I have with Wan Saiful’s rejoinder is that there is no new batch. There is no fresh blood. Malaysia’s men of always have seen to it that their imprimatur is stamped on the new political operatives that are supposedly stepping out from their shadows.

While PAS has an ideology, granted one that any rational person would reject, the rest of the opposition is, in reality, playing the old alliance game of the politics of racial and religious compromise that has not worked.

This is the main idea of Malaysia’s men of always. That we have no choice but to embrace their ideas because it is the pragmatic thing to do. That it is the only thing to do because people will never change and we are all ghettoised in our racial cocoons.

The reality is that the Malay community has changed. This change was deliberate. The Chinese and Indian communities have changed. This change was reactionary. Change is not alien in Malaysia, just misunderstood.

Back in the old days, opposition to the Establishment meant something, those were the days when UMNO’s political operatives feared the opposition because their ideas of dissent were not diluted by establishment ideas that come with power. The opposition tsunami that brought UMNO to its knees was supposed to herald a change in the way how business was run, but not as a refinement of old ideas.

There is no “new batch” – only a political operatives cast from the same old mould but mimicking the rhetoric of progressive politics. There is no fresh blood, only blood infused with the DNA of old policies meant to divide us along racial and religious lines. This does not mean that there are no Malaysians who want real change, only that their voices are drowned out on social media and the endless new cycles of establishment malfeasances.

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Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (photo), in his comment piece about the possible lessons learned from the recent United Kingdom election, attempts to draw similarities with our own disparate opposition. This is problematic for a variety of reasons. I think there are some things we could learn from the recent UK election fiasco, but I do not think we should be so eager to see similarities when the our political landscape is very different.

Here are few takeaways from the recent election that may be helpful, if you wish to draw analogies.

(1) Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, although a polarising figure in the Labour establishment, won his seat at the head of the table legitimately and had an underlying ideology which, although not in the Labour mainstream, resonated with a diverse voting demographic that despised the May regime for a variety of reasons.

(2) Labour’s election manifesto was widely disseminated and struck a nerve with a diverse voting demographic because of its supposedly egalitarian values, not to mention an anti-austerity agenda that rightly pointed out that the Tories (Conservatives) were sacrificing the many in the name of the few.

(3) Although there has been no official data, young people came out and voted in large numbers because they rejected the politics of business as usual, which was the mainstream of the Labour and Conservative regimes.

(4) Theresa May ran one of the worst campaigns in recent memory and the rejection of the conservative party was seen mainly as a rejection of Theresa May, who had trust issues not only with Labour voters but with her own base as well.

Youth vote is extremely important

What I think could be of great use for those looking for regime change here in Malaysia, is point (3). The youth vote is extremely important and, as demonstrated in many countries where the ruling establishment has suffered shock defeats (or barely maintaining power), the youths have come out to vote strongly against the ruling establishment.

In my advice to the young political operative when he was setting up his Youth wing, I made two points: (1) “The younger generation of Malay voters are a promising demographic but they are currently embroiled in a culture war that consumes most of their energy and effort. Young Malay oppositional types not only have to contend with the UMNO regime but they also have to contend with the Islamic forces in this country, with no help whatsoever from mainstream Malay political parties or non-Malay political parties, which do not view them as part of a new deal but merely as a specific racial demographic needed to win the throne of Putrajaya.”

(2) “There are literally hundreds of fringe Malay groups of young people who form the complex structure of alternate Malay politics, and instead of carrying on ghettoising them and appealing to them when needed, they should form the mainstream of Malay politics or, at the very least, the mainstream of Bersatu Youth politics.”

So what is the real lesson we can learn from this? That the opposition needs a leader who, although dismissed by his own mainstream, resonates with a diverse, fractured voting demographic. That an election manifesto that takes into account the needs of the many, instead of the few, is a flashpoint for change. That the ruling establishment coasting on previous victories and running a poorly managed campaign is a soft target but more importantly, young people, if inspired, can wreck havoc on traditional political wisdom.

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Dr. Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj– A Model Malaysian Politician

My own fantasy is that PSM’s Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj becomes a Jeremy Corbyn-like figure in Harapan and manages to bring the existing regime to its knees. I know that this will never happen of course and that is really a shame, for this country.

The only way this can be done – is if oppositional politicans give people something other than what their bases think is important or pragmatic. The only way this could be achieved, if the opposition is so overtly different from the establishment, is when people who want change, but who do not necessarily support the opposition, think that their votes will make a difference. Especially young people.

Most importantly, you cannot serve the men of always and expect to free the children of never.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.